Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Antibiotics Can Cause Pervasive, Persistent Changes To Microbiota In Human Gut

Date:
November 19, 2008
Source:
Marine Biological Laboratory
Summary:
Using a novel technique developed at the Marine Biological Laboratory to identify different types of bacteria, scientists have completed the most precise survey to date of how microbial communities in the human gut respond to antibiotic treatment.

Using a novel technique developed by Mitchell Sogin of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) to identify different types of bacteria, scientists have completed the most precise survey to date of how microbial communities in the human gut respond to antibiotic treatment.

Sogin, director of the MBL’s Josephine Bay Paul Center, and Susan Huse of the MBL, along with David Relman and Les Dethlefsen of Stanford University, identified pervasive changes in the gut microbial communities of three healthy humans after a five-day course of the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin. Their results are reported in the Nov. 18 issue of PloS Biology.

Using very conservative criteria, the scientists identified at least 3,300 to 5,700 different taxa (genetically distinct types) of bacteria in the human distal gut, and antibiotic treatment influenced the abundance of about a third of those taxa.

“You clearly get shifts in the structure of the microbial community with antibiotic treatment,” says Sogin. “Some bacteria that were in low abundance prior to treatment may become more abundant, and bacteria that were dominant may decrease in abundance. When you get these shifts, they may be persistent. Some individuals may recover quickly, and others won’t recover for many months.”

In all the individuals tested in this study, the bacterial community recovered and closely resembled its pre-treatment state within four weeks after the antibiotic course ended, but several bacterial taxa failed to recover within six months.

This raises questions about the health effects of perturbations to the human-microbial symbiosis in the gut, such as may occur with antibiotic treatment. Because specific microbial populations mediate many chemical transformations in the gut—and previous studies have related these processes to cancer and obesity, among other conditions—changes in the composition of the gut microbiota could have important, but as yet undiscovered, health effects.

“When you change the microbial population structure in the gut, you may affect how that population is keeping indigenous pathogens at manageable levels,” says Sogin. Bacteria that do not normally cause problems may begin to grow more rapidly, and cause disease.

The study is part of a large, international effort to fully characterize the microbiota in the human gut, which is the highest-density natural bacterial ecosystem known. Up to 100 trillion microbial cells reside in the gut, and this community plays essential roles in nutrition, development, metabolism, pathogen resistance, and regulation of immune responses.

Until recently, descriptions of human-associated microbiota were constrained by techniques of cultivating (and thus identifying) bacteria. Less than 20-40% of the microbes in the human distal gut, for example, have been cultured in the laboratory. Since the late 1980s, however, cultivation-independent microbial surveys have been developed that identify community members by genetic sequencing. Sogin’s technique, for example, which was used in this study, characterizes microbial populations by pyrosequencing short, hypervariable regions of one gene common to all microbes, the 16S rRNA gene. This technique reveals greater taxonomic richness in microbial samples at a fraction of the cost of traditional sequencing technologies.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Marine Biological Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dethlefsen et al. The Pervasive Effects of an Antibiotic on the Human Gut Microbiota, as Revealed by Deep 16S rRNA Sequencing. PLoS Biology, 2008; 6 (11): e280 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060280

Cite This Page:

Marine Biological Laboratory. "Antibiotics Can Cause Pervasive, Persistent Changes To Microbiota In Human Gut." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081118121941.htm>.
Marine Biological Laboratory. (2008, November 19). Antibiotics Can Cause Pervasive, Persistent Changes To Microbiota In Human Gut. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081118121941.htm
Marine Biological Laboratory. "Antibiotics Can Cause Pervasive, Persistent Changes To Microbiota In Human Gut." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081118121941.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins